The Iconoclasts

words manifested by: AJ Johnson

A game by Konjak for PC, not yet released.
The Iconoclasts is a colorful action adventure title starring a girl named Robin who is a mechanic in a world where her particular craft is considered to be illegal. As is typical of this developer (see 2D CRED below), the game is set in a beautifully crafted world filled with gorgeous sprites, detailed animations, and loads of character and humor. More than just an aesthetically appealing title, the mechanics are solid as well, with precision platforming, varied gameplay, and a compelling Metroidvania structure.


Beneath the beautiful and colorful world, dark forces are at work, and it is up to Robin to set things right by upsetting the status quo and upending the power structure of the oppressors who have made such activities as excavation, mapping, and mechanics illegal. Unsponsored archaeology, cartography, or mechanical work are considered to be sins against the gods, and are punishable by death. According to the imposed law and religion of the land, holy agents of the gods are meant to control the world and ensure that it remains unaltered by earthly hands, which includes strict provisions surrounding the use of a rare fuel source known as ivory. And if that’s not enough, the moon is slowly breaking apart and pieces are falling to earth.


Robin, whose father seems to have died under questionable circumstances, is a mechanic operating outside of the law. She has a 1.5x variable height jump, and she has a heel stomp that she can use to break certain blocks and to harm enemies that are immune to other attacks. She can duck and crawl, although she cannot attack while doing so, and she can grab ledges and pull herself up. She can also pick up boxes and toss them, and getting up a good run allows her to toss them further. Some boxes break while other boxes can be stacked to reach new areas. New abilities are gained as Robin adventures through the game world, including the ability to swim.


Robin has a projectile weapon that she can fire as fast as you can pull the trigger. You can manually aim up, and you can aim downward while jumping, but the projectiles will automatically shoot toward enemies as long as you are facing their general direction, allowing you to destroy targets quickly without requiring pixel-perfect aim. The weapon can also be charged by holding down the trigger, which unleashes a more powerful blast that can also clear certain obstacles. There is a cooldown period after unleashing a charged shot that prevents you from using the weapon for a few seconds.


A wrench acts as melee weapon, allowing you to perform an overhead swing, a jump and stab, and a spinning wrench attack by holding the ATTACK button. But the wrench does more than just split enemy skulls; it can be used for environmental navigation and puzzle solving as well. In some areas, you can crank knobs to open doors, slide platforms, and move objects, and there are also grapple points that allow you to swing yourself high into the air or cross gaps. Some grapple points are hooked up to tracks, allowing you to grab on and be pulled along the path, once you gain the ability to do so.


The game has a Metroidvania structure, with a minimap that shows your surroundings and completion percentage. As new abilities are gained, you are able to backtrack into previously explored areas and access new paths. Various materials are tucked away in treasure chests as well, allowing for further enhancements to your abilities. You can even team up with a couple of different party members who will join you on your quest and help you along the way, even going so far as to engage bosses in combat with their own specialty moves.


There are several high-energy multi-phase boss battles against detailed adversaries with robust movesets. Bosses toss projectiles and impact the environment, forcing you to stay on your toes and use all of your available skills – and those of any accompanying party members – to take them down.



2D CRED
Developer Joakim Sandberg is known for creating games with great sprite art and animation, a sense of humor, and tight shooting action. He does all of the coding, graphics, sound effects, and music for his own games under the Konjak label.


He has even done some professional work in the game industry, having provided his talents for spritework and character animations to several 2D WayForward games, including The Flash (a.k.a. That One Good Game Starring The Flash), Jake Long, and X-Men 3 on the GBA, and even Contra 4 on the DS.



Legend of Princess is a short side-scrolling action game based on The Legend of Zelda series where you play a princess dressed similarly to Link. You carry a sword and a shield and travel through temples, slashing enemies, breaking pots, and opening chests to reveal hearts, keys, and colored coins. Several other Zelda mainstays are included, including chicken tossing (which can assist you in reaching higher areas), health-restoring fairies stored in bottles, and even a boomerang that allows you to break open pots, hit enemies, and activate switches.


Legend of Princess includes a number enemies from the Zelda games, including Octorok, Zora, and several other recognizable characters. You’ll also notice some very similar musical themes. All-in-all, it has solid action-based level design, Sandberg’s trademark sprite art, and some interesting boss encounters. If you’re thinking that this is a watered-down fan attempt at a side-scrolling game akin to Zelda II, you’d be wrong. While it shares a number of elements, it is faster and more action-packed than any Zelda game you’ve ever played.



Chalk is an arcade action game where you draw lines with the cursor to cause chain reactions that destroy targets and enemies. You can draw lines through enemy shots to chain them together and create increasingly more powerful explosions that are capable of destroying powerful armored enemies (this works a bit like the explosion chains in SkyGunner). You can even use the chalk lines to shield yourself from attacks, similarly to Kirby: Canvas Curse.


There are several huge bosses that can only be destroyed via creative use of connect-the-dots chain reactions. The greater the chain, the greater the damage and score multipliers. The game is presented in a simple chalkboard style design with an outlined female character in a school uniform with a red tie.



Tripline is a 30 level puzzle game, with increasingly challenging levels. You have to draw a single line across a set of shapes, lining up three of the same shape before moving to the next. You cannot cross the line you’ve already drawn.



Noitu Love & The Army of Grinning Darns has an interesting premise:
The year is 2188. The city is protected by an organization called “The Peacekeepers League” and everything is swell except for that it’s under attack! By a robot army lead by professor Darnacus Damnation!!


In this 7-level action game, you control Noitu Love, a young peacekeeper who is out to stop Darnacus and impress Lori, the intercom girl. In addition to his standard attacks, Noitu can use machines called Evomatics, which allow him to change forms and gain new abilities, such as enhanced speed, and the ability to fly. The lead character's name is "evolution" spelled backwards, and evolution is one of the game's core themes.



The sequel, Noitu Love 2: Devolution, picks up 100 years later with a new peacekeeper, Xoda Rap, who must once again save the world from the Darn army. Xoda Rap is "paradox" spelled backwards, and paradox is this game's theme.

While you have direct control over Xoda Rap’s movement and jumping, you utilize the mouse to move a targeting reticule to control her attacks. By clicking over a specific spot, Xoda will dash to that location, and you can use this method to navigate the environment, dodge attacks, or dash to enemies and unleash a flurry of punches and kicks. Different attacks occur based on whether you simply hit the ATTACK button, or drag the cursor across the screen while attacking. Additional moves include a wall-jump, a remote shield, a charged shot, the ability to grab onto hooks, and to grab and toss enemies.


The game is filled colorful and well-animated sprite art, a quirky sense of humor, and numerous over-the-top bosses and mini-bosses, each with their own method of attack – usually multiple methods of attack – and very distinct look. There are even some returning favorites from the first game.



In addition to the fully-completed games outlined above, Sandberg has worked on several promising games that have since been abandoned:

Mina of the Pirates was abandoned in 2005 after 3 years of development, and roughly 2/3 completion. Restrictions in Multimedia Fusion 1.5 made it difficult for Sandberg to make the changes to the game that he wanted. Still, it looks good and shows off his spritework, animation, and humor.



Solar Plexus is a puzzle/platformer: “You play as Zaya as she travels to a space station trying to find out what happened to her friend. As she does you solve puzzles by moving blocks around, thanks to her suit made for cargo handling at space docks.”

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